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Learn other characters’ lines

If you’re performing in a group, learn the other people’s lines as well as your own. When someone forgets their lines in a group situation, all hell can break loose. If you know their lines almost as well as your own, you can work out where they are and, if necessary, skip forward a bit to one of your lines to get things back on track.

Handy Hint - Practicing screwing up and recovering

For me, this was the single most important thing I could do when I was rehearsing for any sort of performance, whether it was an oral drama presentation or a music concert. The principle is simple - if you rehearse various screw ups that might occur, and practice the best ways to recover from these screw ups, you’ll be better equipped to deal with them on the day.

So how do you do this? Well, there are all sorts of screw ups you can practice. Try practising being interrupted for a minute or so, to simulate what might happen if your train of concentration is broken. So start reciting your lines and then at some random point (each time you do it make sure it’s a different point) suddenly stop and do some other activity involving your mind. One activity that will work is reading a book. The trick is to get your mind thinking about other things. Then, some random time later - 10 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute and a half even - try to effortlessly start reciting your lines from exactly where you stopped. It should be quite hard the first time, but it will get easier as you practice.

If you’re in a group situation, once you’ve got the lines memorised, every now and then, let someone intentionally skip ahead or backwards in their lines, or even come in early over the top of someone else. Practice adapting to this sort of mistake and working out the best ways to get the lines back on track without it being obvious that a mistake has occurred. If necessary, you might want to practice ad-libbing as well.